Scales with Character
Scale Exercises with Character Studies

Scales with Character is a method book designed to help with scale practice. It is a 63 page book featuring broken apart Scale Exercises, Character Studies with distinct musical characters, and Warm-Ups rounding out the book. This is a great starting point for a common trumpet routine. This book focuses on scale exercises and their uses in music. This is perfect for players at the intermediate/semi-professional level who want to improve their skills. Since scales are the foundation to improving your musical vocabulary, the more variation of scales you know, the more you are able to comprehend, demonstrate, and discuss music. Not only is this book formatted with scales in mind, it has the foundation for a proper routine to practice efficiently.


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Special Thanks to Phil Snedecor for guidance and proofing throughout the editing process.

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Scale Exercises

The more scales you know, the more your vocabulary expands as a musician. However, music is more intricate than simple scales that move up and down. There are specific patterns composers use to develop their music. The most common are the thirds pattern, triplet pattern, and diatonic pattern. In this book, we will learn these patterns and apply them directly to a piece of music.

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The book organizes the scale exercises by key signature. Each key features the common scales patterns in their standard form. To practice these scale patterns effectively, there are exercises below each pattern to break apart each section of it. This breaks down the exercises to become much easier to play with accuracy. It helps players internalize the scales instead of playing it with muscle memory alone.

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Character Studies

These studies are the most important part of the book. Each study is designed with these specific scale patterns in mind. The work you have put into the scale exercises will directly transfer into a musical character.

These studies are divided into two parts, a simple version and a complex version. This book is based on a teaching method called “scaffolding” where you continue to return to previous concepts and ideas, but improve the foundation of these ideas. The simple version of these studies introduce you to a new style of music. Since you will return to this study in a complex form, you don’t have to spend all of your time perfecting each etude. Instead, you will use the simple version as an introduction to this topic and come back later. This is so you are not stuck on the same etude for a long time and continue to expand your knowledge of different types of music. You will come back and refine your skills on this etude at a different time.

Each study embodies a different style of music. Through this book, you will learn about different types of marches, waltzes, dances, and melodies. Each study is distinctly different from the next so you are able to experience a wide variety of styles and forms. Play each etude as stylistically as possible.


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Centering Studies

The Centering Studies simply are long tone exercises the work on air flow and positioning notes. The goal of the exercise is creating an easy start and ending on that same note with a better sound. 1a creates a home base for the player. As the exercise develops, the farther the player ventures off from home base. Players should strive to move effectively to farther away pitches, but always return to home base as firmly as they established it. Once the players finished a full exercises, the home base changes. There are three major levels: Centered on G, C, and E.

This is a great way to start your daily routine. The design of the exercise helps establish quick response and see how effectively you are playing on that given day. For younger students, you can use it as a way to develop high range in a healthy manner. The exercises guides students to the high range in step-wise motion from the given home base. This helps students establish correct habits, then test new possible notes.


Slur Studies

The Slur Studies follow a similar structure to the Centering Studies. The three major levels return: Centered on G, C, and E. This means that the slur exercises start on that centered note and end on the centered note, so the philosophy carries over, You want to create an easy start and end the last note with a better sound. This time, everything is a lip slur. This can add extra challenge, especially for younger players.

Slur studies are great for improving flexibility. However, it is hard to play certain notes correctly if you don’t know where they are on the horn. To effectively find the note, the exercises are divided into two different versions; Fully slurred, and divided by tongue. The Fully Slurred exercises develop the flexible movement between pitches. However, it is not effective in keeping efficient habits when kids are just trying to “hit the note”. Using light articulates can help position the note in the correct spot without using extreme manipulation. The back of the tongue becomes engages when you articulate and slots the pitch in to the correct position without blowing out the chops. This developed the idea of the divided by tongue technique.

You can use both versions to compliment each other. One good practice approach could be:
(Check Example #1)

  1. Play the divided by tongue version
    (C Slur Study #7)
    Focus on the articulated notes, if the slurs didn’t come out, that’s alright.

  2. Perform the full slurred version
    (C Slur Study #6)
    Remember what the articulate pitches sounded like and try to replicate it.

  3. Perform the divided by tongue version again
    (C Slur Study #7)
    This time, focus on both slurs and articulated notes.

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Example #1

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